Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

At the Gate - Saturday

Hofburg fired the first shot among the top three-year-olds in the post Justify era, winning the Curlin at Saratoga on Friday in an impressive win and the Bill Mott trainee is off to the Travers (G1) next month.

This afternoon’s $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) also serves as a Travers prep and it drew a compact field of five led by the Todd Pletcher trained Vino Rosso (1-1). The colt makes his first start since a fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

He faces Preakness (G1) runner up and Belmont fifth place finisher Tenfold (8-5), Kentucky Derby 13th place finisher Flameaway (7-2), Preakness sixth place finisher Sporting Chance (8-1) and Reride (12-1) who was fifth in the Mystic Lakes Derby in his last outing.

Then on Sunday we have the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park, which marks the return of Good Magic, who was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite in a field of seven.

The Chad Brown trainee was my top pick in the Kentucky Derby, but he had to settle for the runner up spot, then was fourth beaten a length in the Preakness.

Among his foes is Bravazo (3-1), who other than Justify was the lone runner that competed in all of the Triple Crown races. His best finish was a second in the Preakness.

Lone Sailor (5-1) was eighth in the Derby and fifth in the Preakness. He was beaten a nose in the Ohio Derby (G3) in his last outing.

The Ohio Derby winner Core Beliefs (4-1) is an interesting contender. The colt was third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and the second in the Peter Pan (G3) before picking up his first graded stakes win in his last start.

I will have selections analysis for the Haskell in tomorrow’s column.

The Jim Dandy today will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 2 during a one hour telecast that gets underway at 6:00 ET.

Saturday’s Best Plays Report includes my nine strongest plays from Del Mar and Saratoga including the stakes action.

Now is the perfect time to purchase my Monthly Package for just $99.95. It gives you a month of Saratoga which is running six days a week and my Best Plays Report each Saturday and Sunday.

To purchase my Saratoga and Best Plays Reports for Saturday click here .

Here is the opening race from Saratoga to get the day off to a good start:

SAR Race 1 Md Sp Wt (1:00 ET)
#3 Stroll Daddy 9-2
#6 Party With Friends 3-1
#5 Halladay 4-1
#9 Winning Factor 6-1

Analysis: Stroll Daddy makes his debut for the Sharp barn that is off to a quick start at the meeting, winning with 3 of his first 5 starters. Overall he hits at a 16% clip with first timers. This guy is by Stroll out of the stakes winner She's All Scat ($91,800) who has dropped one other foal to race, a turf winner. With Brown and Pletcher having firsters in here this colt may end up a decent enough price in this spot.

Party With Friends debuts for the Brown barn that is 19% winners with firsters. The $200,000 Keeneland purchase is by Speightstown out of a Honour and Glory mare that has dropped six winners and three have won on turf. The colt put in a near bullet work out of the gate on July 16 on the main track followed by a really slow breeze in his most recent morning drill. The barn has them ready go here.

WIN: #3 to win at 7-2 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 3,5,6,9
TRI: 3,6 / 3,5,6,9 / 3,5,6,9,11

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Saratoga:

SAR Race 8 The Alfred G. Vanderbilt Hcp G1 (5:02 ET)
#4 Imperial Hint 6-5
#3 Warrior's Club 9-2
#1 Switzerland 2-1
#7 Done Deal 8-1

Analysis: Imperial Hint looks primed for his first Grade 1 win here in his first trip over the Spa main track. The five-year-old battled on gamely and kept his neck in front to take the True North (G2) last out at Belmont Park going 6 1/2 furlongs. Two back he caught slop at Churchill Downs where he set the early fractions and tired to finish sixth in the Churchill Downs (G2). He started his year winning the Florida bred Sprint at Tampa Bay Downs. He won four of five starts last year with the lone loss a runner up finish to Roy H in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Del Mar. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and has been popping bullet works at Philly. Horses on or near the lead seem to have had a slight edge over the last few days at the Spa in sprints. The main knock is going to be the light price.

Warrior's Club tracked the early pace and finished evenly for third in the Kelly's Landing last out at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs. He was not a factor two back in the Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Park, fading to finish 10th. He earned his two best career efforts going into the Met Mile, a neck win in the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland and a head loss in the Churchill Downs (G2) earning a career top speed fig. Lukas has been sending out live longshots at the meeting and has landed four of his eight starters in the exacta.

Switzerland took eight tries just to break his maiden for the Chad Brown barn and then after switching to Asmussen has reeled off three straight, taking the Maryland Sprint (G3) at Pimlico in the slop last out with a career top speed fig. He draws the rail and owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and Santana figures to send him out winging it early. He catches a tougher group than he has ever faced and the 2-1 morning line looks a bit on the light side.

WIN: #4 to win at 1-1 or better.
EX: 3,4 / 1,3,4,7
TRI: 4 / 1,3,7 / 1,3,6,7

Today’s Featured Race of the Day from Del Mar:

DMR Race 9 The Bing Crosby G1 (6:20 PT)
#4 American Anthem 5-2
#5 Ransom the Moon 6-1
#3 Roy H 2-1
#2 American Pastime 5-1

Analysis: American Anthem makes his third start off the bench here for Baffert and is coming off a game win in the San Carlos last out where he dueled for the early lead and battle don gamely to prevail by a head earning a career top speed fig. Put a line through his two routes last year when trying to hop on the Derby Trail and this guy fires every time out. He broke his maiden over the main tack here and drilled a bullet work on July 23.

Ransom the Moon cuts back to a sprint after a fifth in the Met Mile (G1) last out at Belmont Park. his guy won this race last year and while he has not won since he did earn a couple of triple digit Beyers and eh cut back in distance here will suit him. The D'Amato barn is 17% winners moving runners from route to sprint.

Roy H makes his first start since a close up third in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) in March. He was second in this race last year and then reeled off three straight wins including a pair of Grade 1 wins. The Miller barn is 20% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a 61-180 day layoff.

WIN: #4 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 2,3,4,5
TRI: 4,5 / 2,3,4,5 / 2,3,4,5,8

Live Longshots:
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.

R2: #1 Poshky 12-1
R2: #10 Aire Bueno 8-1
R3: #8 Love Nest 8-1
R3: #1 Rucksack 8-1
R4: #3 My Roxy Girl 8-1
R5: #6 Macho Citizen 8-1
R5: #8 Wild Medagliad’oro 8-1
R6: #2 The J Y 8-1
R8: #7 Done Deal 8-1
R9: #3 Bigger Picture 8-1
R10: #4 Sporting Chance 8-1
R11: #4 Frippery 10-1
R11: #5 Sippin Kitten 8-1

Good luck today!

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